As Confirmed by New Global Rankings, Rule of Law Is Why Western Civilization Is Superior

October 20, 2016

And the deeper we fall into a cronyist progressivism –whether under Democrats or a “lite” Republican version– the further the rule of law will be eroded.

International Liberty

The great contribution of western civilization is the notion that the power of government must be constrained by laws.

This doesn’t mean that all laws (or even most laws) are good. But, as explained in this video, if the choice is between the “rule of man” (the arbitrary and capricious exercise of power) and the “rule of law,” there’s no contest.

This is why issues related to the rule of law account for 20 percent of a nation’s grade in the rankings from Economic Freedom of the World.

And it’s why some people get very upset when, for instance, the Obama Administration chooses to unilaterally change – or simply chooses to not enforce – certain laws that are inconvenient to the President’s agenda.

But while the rule of law has been eroding in the United States, the good news is that we still rank in the top 20…

View original post 500 more words

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FBI won’t recommend charges against @HillaryClinton. R.I.P. Rule of Law

July 5, 2016
Above the rules.

Guilty as sin, free as a bird.

This is a very depressing moment:

FBI Director James Comey said Tuesday that his agency would not recommend criminal charges against anyone involved with Hillary Clinton’s private email network, even after finding that Clinton’s team was “extremely careless” in handling classified emails.

“We cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges,” he told reporters in Washington. Comey added that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring charges.

Still, he said Clinton sent or received dozens of emails that were classified at the time they were sent and noted the former secretary of state did not turn over thousands of work-related emails to the State Department.

Comey said 110 emails contained information that was classified at the time they were sent, including eight emails that were top secret. That finding marked a direct contradiction to Clinton’s previous statements, in which she said she never sent any information that was classified at the time it was sent.

Comey said the investigation focused on whether Clinton violated federal statutes prohibiting the removal of classified information from secure areas, which is a crime whether that is done intentionally or inadvertently.

I have to agree with attorney Gabriel Malor:

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This is the statute in question:

Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer-
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

How, I ask, is Hillary Clinton’s unsecured server, which was in her mansion in Chappaqua, in any way, shape or form a “proper place of custody?” And how in God’s name do any of her actions while in charge of national secrets as Secretary of State constitute anything other than “gross negligence?” General Petraeus was prosecuted for less. The information that passed through her servers is likely in the hands of the Russians and Chinese — and who know who else? Clandestine human and technical sources were almost certainly compromised by her “gross negligence.” Intent is immaterial: the existence of the unauthorized server itself is the smoking gun here.

Mere words aren’t enough to convey my disgust.

The Rule of Law may not be dead in this country, but it is gut-shot and bleeding.

RELATED: One small smidgen of good news. While declining to prosecute, Director Comey’s statement point by point demolished all Hillary’s claims of innocence. Not that anyone seems to care that she’s a congenital liar.

 


Is it possible to die from an overdose of White House chutzpah?

September 4, 2015
No way!!

He said what?!?!

Because, man, Press Secretary Mouth of Sauron Josh Earnest is putting me at risk.

A little background: in the wake of the Obergefell ruling by the Supreme Court that forces the entire nation to permit same-sex marriages, there’s been some push-back by state governments and local officials who claim with some justification that this violates the religious liberty of local officials who view same-sex marriage as sinful. And, as a nation that often has granted exemptions for strongly held beliefs (conscientious objectors and military service, for example), a debate has grown about whether and how to accommodate these people. A county clerk in Kentucky brought the matter to a head recently:

A Kentucky county clerk who has become a symbol of religious opposition to same-sex marriage was jailed Thursday after defying a federal court order to issue licenses to gay couples.

The clerk, Kim Davis of Rowan County, Ky., was ordered detained for contempt of court and later rejected a proposal to allow her deputies to process same-sex marriage licenses that could have prompted her release.

Instead, on a day when one of Ms. Davis’s lawyers said she would not retreat from or modify her stand despite a Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, Judge David L. Bunning of United States District Court secured commitments from five of Ms. Davis’s deputies to begin providing the licenses. At least two couples planned to seek marriage licenses Friday.

(Good on the NYT for mentioning later in the article that Davis is a Democrat, though they did bury that fact a bit.)

To be brief (and I’m sure you want me to get to the point), I think Ms. Davis is in the wrong here, even though I sympathize with her concerns about her religion. (1) I think the judge, who himself disagrees with Obergefell, was left with no choice but to jail her for her obduracy. It may be a small case, but the rule of law was at issue here. Granting her an exemption while letting her deputies issue licenses to gay couples would not have been sufficient; she is, after all, en elected official sworn to uphold the law and, like it or not, Obergefell is the law. That is her obligation as a public servant. The correct action would have been for her to resign in protest and in her resignation letter make her objections clear.

So, naturally, this became a national brouhaha –that NYT article was front page, for Pete’s sake– and, where there is national attention to be had, the White House has to weigh in. And they did so with this jaw-dropper:

The White House said today that the Kentucky county clerk taken into custody over her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses should obey the law just as President Obama does.

Press secretary Josh Earnest, asked at today’s briefing about the jailing of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis for contempt, said “ultimately I think that this is something that the courts will weigh in on.”

But, he said, “the question of the rule of law” is at stake.

“And every public official in our democracy is subject to the rule of law. No one is above the law. That applies to the president of the United States and that applies to the County Clerk and Rowan County, Kentucky, as well,” Earnest said. “And that’s a fundamental principal of our democracy. In terms of how that applies to this particular case? That’s obviously something that a judge will have to decide. And I would not second guess it from here.”

I’m amazed that he didn’t choke to death from trying to keep from laughing here. I actually agree with Josh Earnest that the rule of law is at issue here. It’s a shame his boss doesn’t know the meaning of the words. Let’s consider just a few examples:

  • Obamacare waivers
  • Multiple far-reaching regulations (EPA, NLRB, FCC) issued with no statutory authority
  • Racially biased enforcement of our civil rights laws on voting
  • The Libya war, in violation of the War Powers Act
  • Operation Fast & Furious
  • Failure to produce budgets by the statutory deadline — or at all
  • Non-enforcement of our immigration laws
  • Ignoring the treaty clause of the Constitution
  • Ignoring congressional demands for information in violation of Congress’ oversight powers

All of this just screams “respect for the rule of law,” and I’m sure you can come up with others.

How Earnest avoided a lightning bolt from above for this one, I don’t know. I guess even God was gobsmacked.

via PJMedia

Footnote:
(1) For the record, I both support allowing same-sex marriage and I think Obergefell was a terrible decision.


(Video) Police State of Wisconsin: ‘I Thought It Was a Home Invasion’

April 22, 2015

Following up on my earlier post about the Left’s fascist abuse of the law to intimidate and terrorize political opponents, here’s an interview Dana Loesch of The Blaze TV conducted with David French, the author of the National Review exposé, and the head of the Wisconsin Club for Growth, one of the victims in this:

Someone needs to be fired over this, at the least.


Wisconsin: where the Left brings out its inner-Fascist

April 20, 2015
Himmler

Likes “John Doe” investigations

 

Yeah, I went there. Try telling me your reaction was any different after reading this:

“IT’S A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH.”

That was the first thought of “Anne” (not her real name). Someone was pounding at her front door. It was early in the morning — very early — and it was the kind of heavy pounding that meant someone was either fleeing from — or bringing — trouble.

“It was so hard. I’d never heard anything like it. I thought someone was dying outside.”

She ran to the door, opened it, and then chaos. “People came pouring in. For a second I thought it was a home invasion. It was terrifying. They were yelling and running, into every room in the house. One of the men was in my face, yelling at me over and over and over.”

It was indeed a home invasion, but the people who were pouring in were Wisconsin law-enforcement officers. Armed, uniformed police swarmed into the house. Plainclothes investigators cornered her and her newly awakened family. Soon, state officials were seizing the family’s personal property, including each person’s computer and smartphone, filled with the most intimate family information.

Why were the police at Anne’s home? She had no answers. The police were treating them the way they’d seen police treat drug dealers on television.

In fact, TV or movies were their only points of reference, because they weren’t criminals. They were law-abiding. They didn’t buy or sell drugs. They weren’t violent. They weren’t a danger to anyone. Yet there were cops — surrounding their house on the outside, swarming the house on the inside. They even taunted the family as if they were mere “perps.”

As if the home invasion, the appropriation of private property, and the verbal abuse weren’t enough, next came ominous warnings.

Don’t call your lawyer.

Don’t tell anyone about this raid. Not even your mother, your father, or your closest friends.

The entire neighborhood could see the police around their house, but they had to remain silent. This was not the “right to remain silent” as uttered by every cop on every legal drama on television — the right against self-incrimination. They couldn’t mount a public defense if they wanted — or even offer an explanation to family and friends.

If you didn’t know this happened in Wisconsin, you’d be excused for thinking this was something out of the 1930s, a raid by the German Gestapo or the Soviet NKVD against political opponents. You would be half-right: this and other atrocities against the Rule of Law were perpetrated against political opponents of a bunch of rogue prosecutors in Wisconsin. Recently. In the United States.

How the Hell could this happen here?

David French’s article goes into the details, but here’s a quick summary: Starting in 2009, the Milwaukee County prosecutor initiated what are called “John Doe” investigations (1) against newly-elected Governor Scott Walker and his political allies, who were working to reform Wisconsin’s collective bargaining rules for public employees. Under the “John Doe” rules, the entire investigation was secret: warrants were kept under wraps, no one could talk to the press, and those under investigation couldn’t even seek help from a lawyer. (Hello? Right to counsel? Sixth Amendment?) The prosecutor, enabled by a potted plant masquerading as a judge, went on a years-long fishing expedition looking for anything he could find, but always centered around supporters of Act 10, the reform bill in question. (And, what a coincidence, his wife was an official of the teachers union that was desperately opposed to this bill.) And not just individuals were persecuted: the Wisconsin Club for Growth, a free-market, low tax advocacy group, was for all intents and purposes put out of business just as crucial elections were approaching, a hammer-blow to its members’ First Amendment rights.

In the end, Act 10 was passed and the Left lost all those elections, and the John Doe investigations have been halted while state and federal courts get involved, but the harm done to its victims is real and isn’t over. These people live in fear now, insecure in their own homes, parents and children traumatized, humiliated, and tarred as suspect before their neighbors, never knowing if the power of the State will kick in their doors again for daring to participate in politics…

In America.

This is an absolute outrage. This prosecutor and his buddies abused their power in ways that Kim Jong Un would approve of.  Each one of them should –at a minimum– face disbarment and, if applicable, criminal charges. We entrust prosecutors with immense power and discretion; when they abuse it, they should have the book thrown at them.

So, what are you waiting for? Go read the article and get angry.

Afterthought: I think it’s a fair question to ask Scott Walker why he hasn’t gone after this guy hammer and tongs, now that the investigation against him has fallen apart. And why on Earth hasn’t the legislature (as far as I know) hauled in everyone in question under subpoena and under oath for a very public –indeed, televised– grilling? The prosecutors, police, and judge at the heart of this trampled the federal and state constitutions under foot and terrorized innocent people. They should be held accountable.

Footnote:
(1) As I understand it, these were created to protect the identities of those under investigation. The irony is overwhelming.


The Indiana #RFRA, Memories Pizza, and the Left’s Fascist Orgasm

April 6, 2015

satire left tolerance liberal fascism

(Credit: Michael Ramirez)

“I know there is an authoritarian Left in this country, and I fear it.”

Daniel Patrick Moynihan to Richard Nixon (1970)

(Preface: I should clarify something from the start — I am not a religious person. Born and raised Roman Catholic, I haven’t been to a Mass for anything other than a wedding or funeral in over 35 years. While I respect the Church (and most other faiths) and the opinions of the faithful (Well, most of them), I feel no need or urge to go to church on Sundays or offer up my voice in prayer; the existence or not of God is not of great importance to me, though I don’t doubt that God exists in some form. Neither atheist nor agnostic, perhaps the best description for me is “apatheist.” I just don’t care.

What I do care about passionately, however, is the promise of the American Revolution, the political and social settlement represented in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and the freedom of all decent people to live their lives as they see fit without fear of being picked on or persecuted for who they are. What I write below should be read in that context.)

What happened in Indiana over the last week was an utter, damnable disgrace, and a good portion of this nation should be ashamed of themselves for acting like a digital lynch mob.

How did this start? A bit over a week ago, the Indiana legislature passed a bill, similar to a federal act and laws in 19 other states, allowing defendants in lawsuits, including those brought by non-governmental actors, to offer religious belief as a defense when accused of discrimination. It was not a “safe harbor” or anything that precluded a suit or encouraged discrimination. A court still had to determine whether the professed religious defense was outweighed by a pressing state need. Its only purpose was to provide a possible shield to those who felt their religious beliefs were being trampled. (Further essential reading.)

The reaction to the bill made one wonder if Indiana hadn’t opened death camps for gays.

The hysteria generated by progressive reactionaries and other fools who I’m sure didn’t read the bill was appalling to behold. Monumental hypocrites such as Apple’s gay CEO Tim Cook roundly denounced Indiana for bigotry against gays and for denying their rights… while Apple makes iPhones in Communist China and sells them in Iran, where gays are regularly murdered by the state for being gay. Other ignoramuses called for the NCAA basketball tournament to be moved from Indiana next year, or ran to the microphones to condemn Indiana while pretending their own state’s RFRA didn’t exist..

Eventually the pressure from the howling horde of progressive corporate execs, the MSM, and “activists” proved too much for the cowardly lions in the Indiana legislature and their jelly-spined governor, and they amended the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to gut its provisions. The mob had won, and the democratic will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives was left beaten and bleeding in a back alley. If that were the end of it, it would be bad enough.

But it wasn’t.

During the week of furor over Indiana’s RFRA, a “reporter” at ABC’s Channel 57 affiliate in Indiana,  Alyssa Marino, went looking for devout Christians mouth-breathing, hate-filled homophobes who would refuse service to homosexuals.

And she found them at Memories Pizza

You can read Scott Ott’s report on how the media created the Hell that was about to descend on the O’Connors, owners of “Memories.” But I want to point out one especially egregious example,  a tale of two headlines:

headlines

(h/t @TDelovely)

The top is the first headline to run over Marino’s story, and below is the “corrected” version. See the enormous difference between the two? The first claims the O’Connors declared a blanket denial of service to gays. Pretty despicable, right? The later limits that to catering a gay wedding. (And who would order pizza for a wedding, anyway?) But, here’s the kicker: Marino’s question to Crystal O’Connor was wholly hypothetical! There was no gay couple seeking pizza for their wedding. Marino has simply walked in and asked a question along the lines of “What would you do if…?” O’Connor then made the mistake of answering honestly: gays would be welcome to eat at the restaurant, presumably also to get takeout or delivery, but that her business would decline to cater a wedding because it would require them to participate in an activity that went against their Christian faith. Again, a hypothetical answer to a hypothetical question. The hypothetical gay couple could then go to another pizza parlor for catering, which would profit.

Simple, right?

No. This was the crime of “wrong thought,” and for that the O’Connors became vragi naroda, “enemies of the people.” Thanks to the media and the firestorm ignited on the Internet, Memories Pizza’s social media presence was attacked, and threats of violence, arson, and even death were received. It got so bad the O’Connors closed their shop and went into hiding. While through the efforts of Dana Loesch and her crew at The Blaze TV, the O’Connors more then recouped their losses (1), one has to ask: Did they really deserve this for simply holding an opinion not popular with our media and urban elites?

Of course not! What happened to Memories Pizza and to the Indiana government was disgusting: Thinking they had found their new Emmanuel Goldstein, the ignorant, reactionary Left began with a ritual Two Minutes Hate and ran with it until it became nearly a sexual ecstasy of rage. The state government was intimidated, a couple was left in fear for their lives, and the rights of people to freedom of conscience and freedom of association were torn apart in a political Bacchanalia.

There is a sickness in our body politic, one brought about by the authoritarian Left the late Senator Moynihan cited at the start of this article. One key component of the American settlement is the idea of political and religious tolerance, that we can all hold different beliefs –and we don’t have to like those beliefs or even each other– but not be punished for them. Our English forebears, Catholics and Protestant Dissenters, experienced just that sort of oppression and came to a New World to escape it. Later it was the Jews fleeing persecution in Europe; a letter from President Washington to the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island eloquently describes that idea:

The citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy—a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

(…)

May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

Emphases added. Washington, I’m almost certain, would be nauseated by what happened this last week.

What the authoritarian Left is doing strikes at the heart of the American settlement by refusing to honor the “liberty of conscience” we have long made room for in this land. Remember the conscientious objectors of the Vietnam War era (and earlier wars), who refused to engage in combat because of religious objections? Then, the Left lionized them as heroes. Would they now be spat upon because they used religion as a defense? It was for moments like these, when the power of the State impinges on the deeply felt religious beliefs of people, whether in matters of war or simply participating in a wedding, that Congress passed nearly unanimously and President Clinton signed the federal RFRA, and the states followed with their own.

But the Left leaves no room for dissent, unless it is dissent they approve of. All others are not just disapproved of, but must be actively harassed and punished until they publicly recant and think right thoughts, like some Maoist “struggle session.”

I’m going to close with a long quote from attorney Kurt Schlichter, who served many years in the Army, including Kosovo, where he saw first hand what happened when the consensus of tolerance broke down:

Which brings us to America in 2015. It’s becoming a nation where an elite that is certain of its power and its moral rightness is waging a cultural war on a despised minority. Except it’s not actually a minority – it only seems that way because it is marginalized by the coastal elitist liberals who run the mainstream media.

Today in America, we have a liberal president refuses to recognize the majority sent to Congress as a reaction to his progressive failures, and who uses extra-Constitutional means like executive orders to stifle the voice of his opponents. We have a liberal establishment on a secular jihad against people who dare place their conscience ahead of progressive dogma. And we have two different sets of laws, one for the little people and one for liberals like Lois Lerner, Al Sharpton and Hillary Clinton, who can blatantly commit federal crimes and walk away scot free and smirking.

Today in America, a despised minority that is really no minority is the target of an establishment that considers this minority unworthy of respect, unworthy of rights, and unworthy of having a say in the direction of this country. It’s an establishment that has one law for itself, and another for its enemies. It’s an establishment that inflicts an ever-increasing series of petty humiliations on its opponents and considers this all hilarious.

That’s a recipe for disaster. You cannot expect to change the status quo for yourself and then expect those you victimize not to play by the new rules you have created. You cannot expect to be able to discard the rule of law in favor of the rule of force and have those you target not respond in kind.

Read the whole thing.

The Left is discarding the rule of law for the rule of force, substituting the power of the mob for the “immunities of citizenship,” and while you may think it silly to compare America to Kosovo, it may also be that Col. Schlichter has simply reconnoitered farther down the road they want us to walk and seen where it ends.

“I know there is an authoritarian Left in this country, and I fear it.”

And we should, still.

Footnote:
(1) Fair disclosure: I was one of the donors and was honored to do so.

RELATED: The Power Line podcast has an excellent discussion of the Indiana situation, and RFRAs in general, with law professor John Yoo.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Why Obama will do nothing about the border crisis

July 15, 2014
"Y'all come!"

“Y’all come!”

Per Bryon York:

First, because Republicans want him to do something:

Who is pushing Obama to get tough? Mostly, it’s the Republicans whose wishes Obama has ignored for years. And now, since his well-publicized decision to abandon hopes of making a deal with GOP lawmakers on immigration, Obama needs them even less. It’s to his political benefit to oppose them, not to do their bidding.

Second, because Democrats back him:

…the Democrats, who don’t strongly oppose action on the border but want the president to go forward only if Republicans will agree to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Without a grand bargain, these Democrats are not terribly bothered by Obama’s handling of the crisis. While a few border state Democrats like Reps. Henry Cuellar and Ron Barber express reservations about Obama’s performance, most won’t give the president any trouble.

Third, because the progressive media is cheering him on:

Next is the liberal commentariat, which supports Obama so strongly in this matter that it is actually pushing back against the idea that the border crisis is a crisis at all. “The besieged border is a myth,” the New York Times editorial page declared on Sunday. “Republicans are … stoking panic about a border under assault.”

And, finally, because Obama himself is simpatico with immigration “activists:”

Finally, there are the immigration activists who don’t want Obama to do anything that involves returning the immigrants to their home countries. “We’re in the midst of a humanitarian crisis affecting kids fleeing gang violence, extortion and rape,” Frank Sharry, of the immigration group America’s Voice, said recently. It is Obama’s responsibility, Sherry added, to find a way to settle “thousands of child refugees.”

Obama recently met with a group of those advocates. One of them later told the Washington Post that the president said to them, “In another life, I’d be on the other side of the table.” By that Obama meant that in his old days as a community organizer, pressing for the “refugee” rights would be just the sort of thing he would do.

In other words, all the incentives encourage him to ignore national interests and instead be true to his nature. He doesn’t have to worry ever again about reelection, and, if the Democrats are going to take a drubbing in the midterms, anyway, why not make his Leftist base happy?

There are those who argue that Obama’s actions have to be the result of incompetence, that no one would willingly do something so obviously self-destructive to their political fortunes. See, for example, Andrew Klavan’s essay at PJM, “Is Obama just a hapless putz?”, in which he argues that Cloward-Piven is an “idiot’s strategy.”

Perhaps, but one can still be idiotic enough to try it, with all the harmful effects that would follow.

Having read extensively on Obama’s political background, especially Kurtz’s crucial work, “Radical in Chief,” I’m not at all convinced that he cares about the fortunes of the Democratic Party (let alone the nation, or, frankly, those kids on the border), that he isn’t indeed willing to take a political hit in order to achieve what he and his leftist allies hope will be irreversible change. As with Obamacare, so with immigration. Whether Obama and his administration intended for this crisis on the border to occur, they’re quite happy to take advantage of it.

From his point of view, all the incentives work that way.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)